μ-opioid receptor mediates chronic restraint stress-induced lymphocyte apoptosis

Jinghua Wang, Richard Charboneau, Roderick A. Barke, Horace H. Loh, Sabita Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychological stress is associated with immunosuppression in both humans and animals. Although it was well established that psychological stressors stimulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in the release of various hormones and neurotransmitters, the mechanisms underlying these phenomena are poorly understood. In this study, μ-opioid receptor knockout (MORKO) mice were used to investigate whether the μ-opioid receptor mediates the immunosuppression induced by restraint stress. Our results showed that wild-type (WT) mice subjected to chronic 12-h daily restraint stress for 2 days exhibited a significant decrease in splenocyte number with a substantial increase in apoptosis and CD95 (Fas/APO-1) expression of splenocytes. The effects are essentially abolished in MORKO mice. Furthermore, inhibition of splenic lymphocyte proliferation, IL-2, and IFN-γ production induced by restraint stress in WT mice was also significantly abolished in MORKO mice. Interestingly, both stressed WT and MORKO mice showed a significant elevation in plasma corticosterone and pituitary proopiomelanocortin mRNA expression, although the increase was significantly lower in MORKO mice. Adrenalectomy did not reverse restraint stress-induced immunosuppression in WT mice. These data clearly established that the μ-opioid receptor is involved in restraint stress-induced immune alterations via a mechanism of apoptotic cell death, and that the effect is not mediated exclusively through the glucocorticoid pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3630-3636
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume169
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'μ-opioid receptor mediates chronic restraint stress-induced lymphocyte apoptosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this